Diversity in Engineering Award 2017
Atkins praised for diversity initiatives
Company wins Semta Skills Award
Atkins, one of the world’s biggest design, engineering and management consultancies, has picked up a prestigious award for its work in supporting career progression for women and broader initiatives to encourage diversity in its workforce.
Atkins beat off strong competition to win the Diversity in Engineering Award, supported by WISE, at the Semta Skills Awards 2017 gala dinner in London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane hosted by BBC presenter Alexander Armstrong.
Gila Stockell, Learning and Development consultant at Atkins, said: "This is a tremendous achievement and recognition for work over a number of years. We have got a five-year plan to increase diversity and we will continue to work towards it."
As a large employer with people at the heart of its operation, Atkins recognised the value of attracting, retaining and progressing diverse talent as a key business priority over six years ago.
The UK CEO set up gender balance focus groups to ensure a governance structure and to get the business fully on-board. One of the key needs identified was the requirement for a development programme for women. In 2011 it implemented a specialist four-day women's development programme to support women as a minority group, both within Atkins and in the wider science, advanced manufacturing and engineering sector. Over 500 women have already attended the programme. Recruitment and retention statistics are positive. In 2012, 24% of the Atkins workforce in the UK was female, rising to 28% in 2016 and more women are putting themselves forward for promotions.
The company is also launching an LGBT network and has appointed a Head of Diversity and Inclusion.
Stephen Hateley, Director Atkins Global said: “Atkins operate in a ferociously competitive market sector. We will only flourish if we are able to deliver the highest possible skills to our customers, so therefore diversity has to be at the heart of what we do as an organisation to keep ahead of the competition. This isn’t a question of doing something because it is the right thing to do – we are doing it because it makes perfect business sense.”
Ann Watson, CEO of Semta, the not-for-profit organisation tasked with skilling engineering and manufacturing in the UK said: “Atkins is a very deserving winner of the Semta Skills Award. It is a forward-thinking company which has done tremendous work to ensure engineering as a career is not based on gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation – it is open and welcoming to people of all backgrounds.
“If we are to achieve the 800,000 extra engineers we need by 2020 it is vital we encourage greater diversity to keep the UK’s skills talent pipeline flowing and Atkins is one of those companies that is leading the way.”
Runners up: Airbus and British Airways
Watch a video of Atkins at the awards: